SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT — Georgia’s 12-year-old infielder Trey Maddox starts flailing his arms and making faces when his manager gets stressed in the dugout.
Two years after the Warner Robins American league won the Little League World Series, a squad from that same league is back again in South Williamsport. The expectations are high, and manager Randy Jones can get tense in tight situations.
As for his players? No sweat.
Jones’ son, Justin, homered for the second straight day and two more teammates went deep Saturday as the slugging Southerners beat Staten Island, N.Y., 6-3.
Georgia has now won two straight after waiting around the Little League complex for nearly a week. They’re in good shape to move on to the next round.
“The stress was from sitting around and not playing” for a week, the skipper said about the wait for the first game. “The stress today was the respect for” New York.
In other early games Saturday, Willemstad, Curacao, defeated Maracaibo, Venezuela, 2-1; and Reynosa, Mexico, edged Vancouver, British Columbia, by the same score, but in seven innings.
Oscar Noguera scored from third on a throwing error by pitcher Anthony Cusati to end a tense game.
Cusati fielded a bunt by Mario Cardenas cleanly but threw to first with no one covering, allowing the ball to bounce into foul territory. Noguera jogged home easily for the win, sending Mexico’s vocal fans into a frenzy.
Mexico had a good chance to win in the sixth after loading the bases with one out. But Cusati caught another bunt attempt on the fly by lunging off the mound, then threw to second to double off runner Marcelo Martinez, who was halfway to third. It was the most dramatic play of the tournament so far.
Claycandy Hariquez, one of five returnees from last year’s tournament team, drove in the go-ahead run with a single and threw a two-hitter. He struck out 13 and walked one.
The righty tossed a gem that would have impressed his idol, Atlanta Braves pitcher and Curacao native Jair Jurrjens.
“I felt I pitched very well and I was ready for the game,” Hariquez said in a low voice through and interpreter. “I felt more nervous last year, my first World Series.”
Toshinori Wakai hit a two-run homer and also got a complete-game victory, striking out 11 and allowing four hits to lead Japan. Nicky Knight had a two-run triple for Saudi Arabia, a team comprised mainly of children of Americans overseas.
U.S. favorite California pounded the ball, including two long drives by 13-year-old slugger Luke Ramirez in support of ace pitcher Kiko Garcia.Chula Vista smacked seven homers in routing Russellville. It was the most homers by one team in a game since the tournament expanded from eight to 16 teams in 2001.
Both of the 6-foot, 212-pound Ramirez’s homers landed on the grassy hill well behind the outfield fences, prompting chants of “Luuuuke” from the crowd. The game ended after five innings due to the 10-run rule.